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UP government asks for count of Brahmins with gun licences, then backtracks

Over the last month, several Opposition leaders have been critical of the state government on the Brahmin issue.

Written by Manish Sahu | Lucknow | Updated: August 31, 2020 9:17:12 am
Yogi Adityanath, Cabinet okays Bill, exemptions to MSMEs, Lucknow news, UP news, Indian express newsOver the last month, several Opposition leaders have been critical of the state government on the Brahmin issue.

Responding to a query to the Assembly by a BJP MLA on the “killing” of Brahmins, their insecurity and gun ownership data, the Uttar Pradesh Government sent an unusual letter to all District Magistrates asking for details on the number of Brahmins who have applied and received arms licences.

The letter, signed by Prakash Chandra Agarwal, Under Secretary, state Home Department, was sent on August 18 seeking details from the districts by August 21.

Agarwal declined to comment but a senior official signalled a backtracking by the government and said the details “are no longer being pursued.”

However, at least one district has sent the data the letter had asked for.

The letter says that Devmani Dwivedi (BJP MLA from Lambhua in Sultanpur) had sent a note on August 16 to UP Vidhan Sabha Principal Secretary (Pradeep Dubey) raising questions as per Assembly rules and procedures.

Dwivedi, the letter said, had sought information from the Home Minister — who is Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath — on how many Brahmins in the state were killed in the last three years; how many killers were arrested, how many were convicted; what are the government’s plans for providing security to Brahmins; will the government provide arms licences to Brahmins on priority basis; how many Brahmins applied for arms licences and how many of them have been issued licences.

The government’s letter to all DMs asks for this information: “Kitne Brahmino ney shastra license ke liye apply kiya aur kitnon ko license jaari hua? … sambandh mein binduwar akhya evam anupurak samagri shashan ko 21.08.20 tak… e-mail par uplabdh.. karein.” (How many Brahmins applied for arms licences and how many were issued. Please provide this information point-wise with supplementary material by August 21, 2020 on e-mail).”

When contacted, Vidhan Sabha’s Principal Secretary Pradeep Dubey said: “We did not seek any such information from the government and no such question was accepted.”

When contacted, Dwivedi declined to comment. “I have no information about it and I am out of touch,” he told The Indian Express.

Over the last month, several Opposition leaders have been critical of the state government on the Brahmin issue. It gained political momentum after the July 10 gunning down of gangster Vikas Dubey in Kanpur last month, followed by the killing of five of his associates, all Brahmins. Eight policemen, including a DySP, were killed in an attack by Dubey’s alleged associates on June 3.

Incidentally, making up around 10% of the state’s electorate, Brahmins constitute an influential vote bank.

All parties try to woo them. Early this month, BSP chief Mayawati said if voted to power, her party would build hospitals named after Lord Parshuram, “the symbol of Brahmin faith and pride.” She also urged the state government not to do anything that would make Brahmins feel insecure. Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav also announced that he would build a 108-foot-tall statue of Parshuram.

Recently, Aam Aadmi Party leader and Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh said Brahmins were feeling harassed in the state and that MLAs of the community belonging to the ruling BJP were also unhappy. Consequently, FIRs were lodged against Sanjay Singh in several districts of UP on charges of promoting enmity and trying to breach peace in the state.

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